I can't even begin to describe how amazing this past week has been. I have grown and learned so much, and so much of it I can't really quantify, but I know I'm a different person than I was when I stepped on the MTC curb last monday.
My companion's name is Sister Barnett. She is so incredible! She and the rest of my district (a district is a group of missionaries you meet with together with--a lot more often in the Missionary Training Center--and learn together with) are such great examples to me of hard work and just being great people in general! There are eight elders (four companionships) and another companionship of sisters, so altogether we make twelve. Everyone is so doggone funny when we have time just to talk, but then so spiritually strong when we have time to study. And we have A LOT of time to study, thank goodness! Time to study the scriptures and other things to help us be more effective teachers of the Gospel. And our classroom time is just the greatest thing on earth. We have two amazing teachers who have taught us so much about how to effectively bring the Spirit into a lesson, because it is the Spirit that teaches of spiritual truths, not us. We are just an instrument through which the Holy Ghost can touch the hearts of the people we talk to.
As far as lessons go, our two teachers role play as people they taught during their missions, and we get to teach them! I feel like they really become the person they're acting as--which is the point for a more effective lesson--which helps me really grow as far as teaching experience, knowing that this lesson really means something. We also get to teach volunteers here at the MTC four times a week! Some are church members, some aren't, we don't know which. But all these experiences have really helped me learn how to rely on the Holy Ghost. We cannot be effective missionaries unless we completely rely on the Holy Ghost and find the needs of the people we talk to. Some need to hear about our Heavenly Father's love for them, some need to hear about our Savior's Atonement, some need to hear about Joseph Smith and the restored Church... whatever it is, we need the Spirit to guide us to ask the right questions and give appropriate lessons for them. I love every single person we talk to, but I feel especially connected to the people our teachers act as--we've gotten to teach them several lessons, whereas we've only talked to each volunteer once. It's amazing how when you grow in your love for God and Jesus Christ, you grow in your love for everyone else. I want them to be as happy as I am because I love them so much! And the only reason I am as joyful as I am is because I know that Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, love me.
I know that Jesus Christ suffered and died for my sins--performed the Atonement-- so I can live with Him again in Heaven. I know this because I have felt my sins washed away when I repent of them, and I can feel the Atonement working in my life. I know that Joseph Smith did see God and Christ and They, through Joseph, restored the church that Christ had organized when He dwelled on the earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know because I, like Joseph, prayed to know what was true. And I, through the Holy Ghost, received my answer. My knowledge isn't based on physical evidence or philosophy. It's based on the peaceful, warm, joyful presence of the Holy Ghost when I pray and when I read the scriptures. I know that the only way to true happiness is to make yourself more like Jesus Christ every day, by following His example. And I can only do that through repenting of my sins and following through on my commitments to Him. I can only repent because He suffered and died for me. The only way I can live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in Heaven is to come unto Christ. To come unto Him through faith in Him and His Atonement, repentance, baptism and other promises to Him, following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and striving every day to make myself better, until the day I die.
And if you could tell everyone about DearElder.com! Thank you for the letters! I love you guys!
Thanks to everyone who's written me so far! I'll try my best to get back to you as soon as I can! I can write and email on Thursdays.
I love you all so much. And I know that Heavenly Father loves you all so much. This Gospel is true.
With all my heart,